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Toddler bonds with sanitation workers during pandemic

Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 3:38 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Garbage trucks aren’t an uncommon sight. In fact, you usually see them outside your front door every week — but for two-year-old Ally Schultz, it’s something to look forward to.

Ally Schultz has spent half her life in a pandemic. She stays home all day and her older brother is her main playmate. It hasn’t held her back much — and some unexpected friends even pay her a visit every week to give her a few seconds of socialization.

“Her interactions have definitely been limited, especially due to this pandemic,” said Ally’s mom Kari Schultz. “That’s why it’s been so nice that these sanitation workers that drive through our neighborhood have provided her with some porch entertainment.”

Since the toddler years are so formative, parents are worried about the long-term effects of staying at home for an entire year.

“She’s just learning how to talk and be social and how people interact with each other, say ‘hi’ and ‘bye,’ wave hello, and be excited to see other people, to recognize faces and who everybody is and what their role is in this community,” said Kari Schultz.

Seeing the sanitation men drive by in their truck is the highlight of Ally’s week — and theirs as well.

“Just about every single day that we’re here, she’s outside on her front porch waving to us — just as happy as can be,” said Ryan DiRosse, a supervisor at Coastal Waste Services. “You know, it’s just so heartwarming, seeing her all the time.”

The pandemic has been rough on adults, too. Since Ally lifts their spirit, the men thought they should return the favor with a gift: a small, toy garbage truck with the Coastal Waste Services logo on the side.

“When I handed her the toy, her facial expression was super excited, bright as daylight,” said Darius Pearce.

“She plays with it all the time,” said Kari Schultz. “She’s got a brother who likes trucks, too, but this is definitely her favorite truck to play with.”

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